The Legend At Shanty Creek Golf Course Review
The Legend at Shanty Creek
Teachers’ Comments: Poor conditions marred a nice design.
The Legend at Shanty Creek is an Arnold Palmer-designed resort course with many of the hallmarks of Northern Michigan Golf: elevation changes; secluded, wooded holes; and several gorgeous vistas. Palmer’s design offers a lot of variety within this pretty setting. Not playing favorites between the fade and draw, there are doglegs both left and right. Steep downhill tee shots are occasionally matched by steep uphill approaches. Fairways are wide and rolling. The greens are largish, and fair.
The Legend is a development course as well as a resort course, so homes are present along a good many of the fairways. Still, they were always far enough back that it did not detract from the experience.
Shanty Creek’s The Legend is the third Arnold Palmer-designed course that I have played (Coyote Preserve and Northville Hills are the others) and I think it shares some characteristics. All three are fundamentally fair courses. At The Legend, as with the others, the more forward tees take many of the most penal obstacles out of play. They also are all well balanced, with holes offering opportunities at various points for nearly every kind of golfer. Finally, the frustration factor is fairly low, assuming that you’re playing from the proper tees. I have the feeling that the King didn’t want people to feel beat up after a round at one of his courses.
My favorite hole at The Legend at Shanty Creek was the par five seventh (at top). This dogleg right wraps around a pond, and is cut by a creek some two hundred yards out. After clearing that creek off the tee, the second shot needs to put the ball in position for a tricky third. That last shot requires firing a shot over the creek that fronts a slightly elevated green.
Later in the summer, the pro at a nearby course told me an interesting story about the second on Shanty Creek’s The Legend. Apparently, the hole was designed to have a fairway that ran up the hill all the way to the green. Unfortunately at some point early on, the fairway collapsed in a slide, leaving no choice but to let it grow in with native grasses. Now the hole has a forced carry to the crest. It’s probably better that way. Sometimes accidents provide better solutions.
From the tips, Shanty Creek’s Legend stretches out to 6, 764 yards and plays to a 73.6/137 — a relatively difficult course. Playing from the middle tees, the course measures 6, 269 and comes in at 71.4/130. The men’s forward tees are in at 5, 801 and play to a 69.4/121. Moving up on this course not only shortens distances, but also in many cases reduces the troubles faced.
Unfortunately, the Legend at Shanty Creek suffered from conditions more befitting a low-end muni than a relatively expensive resort course. There were large damaged spots in fairways, along with numerous roped off areas of ground under repair. It was quite jarring, actually, to see this on hole after hole. The maintenance work they had done on the course had either not gone well, or was still a work in progress. In any case, I can perhaps forgive such at a $20 a round muni; on an $90 resort course, I want better.
I would need to have solid evidence that the conditions I found were a fluke to play the course again.
Addendum: After some discussion about this on a Facebook golf group, I think that the proper approach for a place like Shanty Creek is to preface booking a tee time with “The course is a little beat up right now due to some work we’re doing (aerated greens or fairways, construction, et. al.) If you would still like to play, we can offer a x% discount over our normal rates.” That would avoid golfer surprise and disappointment and probably generate some long-term goodwill.
The Legend at Shanty Creek Golf Course review was first published November 7, 2017, based on an August 2017 playing
More photos of The Legend at Shanty Creek follow: